Demands of the peasantry are in the general interest of society

Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 22 May, 2018

From 1st to 10th June, peasants all over the country will carry out protest actions in support of their longstanding demands. These include public procurement of all farm produce at remunerative prices and unconditional waiver of outstanding agricultural loans. In addition, peasants in different states will highlight specific demands related to waiver of electricity bills, crop insurance, land rights of tribal people and forest dwellers, pension for peasants, amongst other issues.

Hundreds of peasant organisations have come together under the banner of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and Kisan Ekta Manch to ensure the success of the agitation. During these ten days, peasants will stop supplying farm produce including vegetables, grains and milk to the towns. On 10th June, they have called for a Bharat Bandh.

The All India Kisan Sabha, which had organized the Long March of peasants from Nashik to Mumbai in March 2018, has announced that it will organise another march on June 1. This follows the failure of the Maharashtra Government to implement the assurances it gave to the peasants at that time. The Kshetkari Sangathana of Maharashtra and the Aam Kisan Union of Madhya Pradesh have also announced their plans for agitation in this period.

Communist Ghadar Party calls upon all organisations of workers, women and youth to ensure the success of this all-India peasant agitation.

Exactly a year ago, on 1st June, 2017, peasants of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh launched a powerful protest, dumping their produce including milk onto the highways, and organizing rasta rokos. Through these actions, they highlighted the callous disregard of the Central and state governments for the livelihood of the peasants. That agitation ignited similar struggles in other states. It led to coordinated all India actions, including the two day All India Kisan Sansad in Delhi in November 2017.

Faced with mounting protests of peasants all over the country, the Modi government has launched a massive propaganda campaign claiming that it is fulfilling the demands of the peasantry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared during the election campaign in Karnataka that his government had implemented the Swaminathan Committee Report of 2006. So did the Finance Minister in his budget speech earlier in the year. What is the truth?

The first truth is that successive governments at the center have fixed minimum support prices (MSP) for only 23 crops. Even of these, only wheat and rice are procured at the MSP, and that too in only some states. How else can it be explained that peasants in Maharashtra have put up signboards on their farms, announcing free distribution of tomatoes, since they were being forced to sell their produce for Rs 1 a Kg? Peasants producing garlic in MP and Rajasthan were forced to sell it at Rs 1 or 2 a Kg! Producers of Arhar dal had to sell their produce at far lower price than the MSP, in the mandis of Karnataka, Maharashtra, MP, etc.

The second truth is that MSP announced by the government is not calculated as per recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee Report. Should the cost of production include imputed wages of family labour? Should it include rent on the land? Yes, says the Swaminathan Committee Report. No, says the government. The method of calculation of the MSP by the Modi government is the same as that followed by earlier governments. It has refused to include the value of family labour and the land while calculating the MSP.

The Modi government is lying through its teeth when it says that it is concerned about ensuring secure livelihood for the peasantry. Facts show otherwise.

It is not acceptable that peasants, who through their labour feed the whole of society, are being systematically ruined, forced to sell their lands, and even commit suicide. Today, the market for agricultural inputs, and for agricultural produce is dominated by Indian and foreign capitalist monopolies. These monopolies are squeezing the last drop of blood of the peasantry, by selling inputs to agriculture at high prices, and keeping the prices of the farm produce depressed.

It is the duty of the state to guarantee security and prosperity to those who till the land. Any government which is serious about ensuring security of livelihood for peasantry, would take steps to organise agricultural production according to a national plan. It would increase investment in irrigation, provide good quality seeds, fertilisers and pesticides and other inputs for agriculture at reasonable cost. It would set the MSP for all agricultural produce, to ensure remunerative prices for the peasants, well before the sowing season. It would ensure timely procurement of the produce of the peasants, by expanding the network of mandis. It would establish a cold storage chain, to ensure preservation of the agricultural produce, and organise its efficient transportation to different parts of the country. It would establish a modern universal public distribution system for farm produce covering the entire country so as to ensure that it is available to working people everywhere at reasonable prices.

If wholesale trade in agricultural inputs and produce is brought under social control, if a universal public procurement system along with a universal public distribution system is established, the whole of society will benefit. The peasant family will get remunerative prices for their produce; the working people’s families will get necessities at lower prices. The state would still make a surplus from trade, which could be invested in improving the wellbeing of all the working people of town and country, by spending it on education, health care, and other social needs.

Implementing these measures will be in the general interests of society. Only the capitalists, Indian and foreign, who are dominating wholesale trade in agricultural inputs and produce, will be deprived of the massive profits they are making from robbing the peasants, workers and working people. All parties and organisations who are concerned about ensuring the wellbeing of all members of society must unite and fight for the implementation of these measures.

Security of livelihood can be guaranteed to peasants if and only if wholesale trade in agricultural inputs and outputs is removed from the control and domination of capitalist monopolies and brought under social control. The reason why the central and state governments headed by the BJP, Congress Party and other ruling class parties are refusing to implement these measures is because they are committed to fulfil the greed of monopoly capitalists.

The spokespersons of the capitalist class carry out propaganda that if peasants are paid remunerative prices for their crops then that will lead to higher food prices in the retail shops. This is nothing but lying propaganda to turn the rest of the working people against the peasants. The truth is that the average price received by peasants for their produce is less than one quarter of the final selling price in the retail stores. The reason for this huge gap lies in the huge profits pocketed by capitalist trading companies.

The demand of peasants for complete waiver of loans is a just demand. The peasants have been robbed of lakhs of crores of Rupees by the capitalists dominating agricultural trade and what they are demanding is that the State returns a small portion of this. While declaring that it cannot waive loans of peasants, the Central government has supervised the waiver of loans taken by big capitalist monopolies from the banks.

Today, the struggle in our country is between two diametrically opposite paths for India. One is the path of the capitalist monopolies who are ruling our country. This is the path of ruination of peasants and workers, to ensure maximum profits for Indian and foreign capitalist monopolies in all spheres of the economy, including trade. The other is the path of building a society in which security of livelihood and prosperity will be guaranteed to all, and the economy will be oriented to fulfill people’s needs in place of capitalist greed. This is the road that workers, peasants, and all working people of our country must unitedly pursue.

The Communist Ghadar Party of India call upon all activists of the workers and peasants movement to unite and fight with the vision of replacing the rule of the capitalist monopolies with the rule of workers and peasants. Let us unitedly build a new India in which the toiling masses will set the agenda for society, and ensure that security and prosperity is guaranteed to all.


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Jun 1-15 2018    Statements    Rights     2018   

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